Using semantic memory to boost 'episodic' recall in a case of developmental amnesia

Neuroreport. 2006 Jul 17;17(10):1057-60. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000220134.09221.04.


We report two experiments that investigated factors that might boost 'episodic' recall for Jon, a developmental amnesic whose episodic memory is gravely impaired but whose semantic memory seems relatively normal. Experiment 1 showed that Jon's recall improved following a semantic study task compared with a non-semantic study task, as well as following four repeated study trials compared with only one. Experiment 2 additionally revealed that Jon's recall improved after acting compared with reading action phrases at study, but only if the phrases were well integrated semantically. The results provide some support for the hypothesis that Jon's 'episodic' recall depends on the extent to which he is able to retrieve events using semantic memory.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amnesia / physiopathology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Association Learning / physiology
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Semantics*
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*